Adding student contacts to a student’s profile is a vital part of setting up brightwheel. A student's contact list determines which guardians will have access to their profile, and what level of access - this is how administrators can manage connections between students and guardians. This action will enable all of the communication and check-in functionality within the brightwheel platform.
When adding student contacts - administrators, managers, and lead staff can choose from four contact types: Parent, Family, Approved Pickup, or Emergency Contact.
Each contact type has a specific set of permissions and access to view student information. To better understand the options and features available to various student contact types, view our Contact Types resource.
💡It's important to note that if when a Parent contact type is added, and the program uses billing, this student contact will automatically be added as a payer. Learn more about Primary Payers and what this means.
Parents can Edit Student Info Setting
This setting is important to call out due to how it affects parent contacts. Programs can manage the "Parents can Edit Student Info" setting and determine whether these contacts should have edit permissions or not. This setting is school-wide and cannot be managed at an individual user level. It's can be valuable to have this setting toggled on if you prefer to assign the responsibility of adding additional student contacts and managing the student's profile information to the primary guardian. If this is not desired, this setting can be toggled off, so they only have view access.
Add Student Contacts
When first implementing and setting up brightwheel, there are two simple streamline options for adding student contacts:
Upload in Bulk: The fastest and most convenient way to add student information is through our easy Roster Upload Tool
Adding Manually by Student: To learn how to add these contacts manually, follow the steps outlined below on the web or in the app.
From the Web
From the App
If a student contact is also a staff member, see our Using brightwheel as a Student Contact and Staff Member article for additional insight into how to set up both accounts
A student contact can be added with just a first and last name, but these contacts will not receive an invitation until an email address or phone number has been added
Contacts can be created using an email address OR mobile number. Entering either/or instead of both greatly reduces errors when adding parents. You can still document an email address if you've added a phone number and vice versa. First, add the email address or phone number to add/invite the parent. Then once they have been added, you can use the Phone 1 or Email address field to add additional info. Parents can also add this additional information themselves to their account once they create their account; the information will then be updated on your end as well.
Mobile numbers must be valid US or Canadian numbers
Emergency Contacts only require a first and last name and a phone number. These users are never invited to create a brightwheel account.
Add an Existing Contact to Additional Students
It's common for a student contact to be added to more than one student. Siblings may share the same contacts, a user could be a Parent for one student and an Approved Pickup for another. In cases like this, contacts can be added to multiple students with the same account information.
Click My School > Students from the side menu
Select a student by clicking on their name
Scroll down to the Contacts section and click Add a contact
Choose the Existing tab on the pop-up
Select the desired Contact Type from the drop-down
Pick the desired contact name from the drop-down list
Click Save Contact
Please Note: For parents who are already connected to a student's profile, a notification will be issued via email each time a new student contact is also connected to that same student for transparency and security.
Edit and Remove Contacts
Once a contact has been created in brightwheel with an email address or mobile number added, schools cannot edit their name, email address, or mobile phone number. The contact now owns the account and controls their personal information. They can update their information in their own profile.
If an email address and or phone number was added with a typo or other mistakes were made that impact the user’s ability to create or log in to their account, the administrator can first delete the contact's record with outdated/incorrect information and then re-add them as a new Contact with the correct information. The user will need to create a new account with this updated information.
Remove Student Contact
In cases where a student contact needs to be removed from a student’s profile, they can be remove by an administrator, manager, lead staff member, or parent contact (with the appropriate permissions). By removing a student contact, the association between the contact and the student will be severed.
This does not delete the contact's brightwheel account. They will still be able to log in and see any other students they are associated with, or if no additional students are connected to the contact’s profile, they will see a blank page with the brightwheel logo. If they need their account removed completely, have them email email@example.com to make this request.
From the Web
From the App
For the security and safety of the student’s personal information, adding and modifying contacts in a student’s profile must be done in a very specific way. It is common to receive an error message if the instructions outlined above are not followed.
The following error messages are the most common when modifying a student’s contact list. Typically they're straightforward to resolve, but sometimes, the contact may need to reach out to our support team to deactivate an old or duplicate account.
The phone number and email belong to different accounts in brightwheel.
This error indicates that there is a mismatch between the email address and mobile phone number entered. This may mean that the contact has two accounts, one with their phone number and one with their email address. To correct this, try adding the contact with ONLY their email address. The contacts should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to have the account associated with their phone number removed so that they can add it to their active account.
[Contact name] is already a contact for [Student name].
This indicates that the contact being added is already added as a contact for that student. If the intent is to change the contact type, simply edit the record and choose the desired contact type.
This email belongs to a teacher account. Please use a different email to create their parent account.
This means that the email address of the contact being added is already associated with a staff/teacher account. If the staff account is no longer in use, contact our Support team and let them know the account associated with that email address should be deactivated. If the staff account is actively in use, please refer to our Using brightwheel as a Student Contact and Staff Member article
Sometimes it is not always clear what is happening when viewing the brightwheel app as a student contact. Below are the most common questions our support team receives and how best to address them.
Why can’t the contact see any messages or billing?
This means that the contact type was not set correctly. The administrator should update the current contact record to a parent contact type. Parent contacts are the ONLY contact types that can access messages and billing.
The student contact has two accounts, one with an email and one with a phone number. Can I merge them?
While it is not possible to merge these accounts, it is possible to disconnect and deactivate one account and then add the information to the desired one. The contact should send an email to email@example.com and ask to have one of the accounts deactivated.
If the user needs to utilize brightwheel as a student contact and staff, they will want to maintain separate accounts and switch between both. Review our resource here for more information on how their accounts should be set up.